Press co-creation behavior: conceptualization and scale development

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Press Co-creation Behavior, source-reporter relationship, Press-Participation Behavior, Press-citizenship Behavior, Symmetrical model


Introduction and purpose of the study Recent trend has shown public relations-press relationship has been getting closer than ever. The down-sized pressroom, popularity of online e-News channels of communication and a 24-hour news cycle had put further pressure for journalists to collaborate with public relations practitioners. This backdrop had sparked a new research opportunity to re-examine the source-reporter relationship using a co-creation perspective. This study aims at developing the conceptual framework of press co-creation behavior and develops a measurement scale to empirically support the co-creation framework. Literature Review Co-creation perspective viewed the publics as a long-term partner, a co-creator of meanings to be shared and interpreted with an objective to build relationships in order to fulfill organizational goals (Botan & Taylor, 2004). This view is an extension of the relationship management perspective where a group of public relations scholars believed that relationships should be considered as the center of public relations research (Broom, Casey, & Ritchey, 1997; Ledingham, 2003). Regardless, extant literature in public relations with a focus on co-creation is sparse and with limited empirical support. Through a cross-disciplinary literature review, one can draw parallel with the service-dominant (S-D) logic by Vargo and Lusch (2008) in relationship marketing studies. The S-D concept advocates that customer acts as an active co-creator of value with the organization they are engaged with. In this context, co-creation is categorized into two main types: customer participation behavior, referring to “in-role” behavior; duties the customer needs to perform in order to create a successful value co-creation behavior. The other type is customer citizenship behavior, referring to “extra-role” behavior; the extra tasks the customer volunteers to do to provide additional value to the firm (Yi & Gong, 2013). Methodology To adopt the concepts into a public relations context, in-depth interviews each lasting an average of 90 minutes has been conducted with 16 journalists in Hong Kong from October 2016 to January 2017 to study the co-creation behavior between journalists and public relations practitioner. The objective of the qualitative study is to develop a set of co-creation behavior measurement scales being adopted from Yi and Gong in a public relations (PR) practitionerjournalist context. Results and conclusions Results of the qualitative study had showed that press co-creation behavior is established as “Press Participation Behavior (PPB)” and “Press Citizenship Behavior” (PCB)”. The press co-creation measurement scale has thirty-five items measuring eight constructs that describes the multi-dimensional measures of Press Participation Behavior; information seeking, information sharing, responsible behavior, and personal interaction. Based on the results of the qualitative study, Press Participation Behavior can be expressed in an overall statement: “I [journalist] believe it is important to work with public relations specialists in order to generate news”. For Press Citizenship Behavior, the four measures are; feedback, advocacy, helping and tolerance. Overall, it is expressed as: “Press citizenship behavior is important in working with public relations practitioners”. The implications of this study aims at theorizing and operationalizing the press co-creation behavior to be used in a larger theoretical framework to facilitate the study of antecedents and moderators in nurturing press co-creation behavior by public relations practitioners. Practical and Social Implications The press co-creation behavior concept can help public relations practitioners and journalists to workin better harmony with each other. The measurement scale can be used to determine if media relations are improved through the press co-creation framework. Finally, the concept of co-creation is a natural extension to Grunig’s symmetrical model of communication (Grunig & Hunt, 1984) adapted in the context of 21st century press room environment.

Source Publication

24th Annual conference of International Public Relations Symposium



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